'It was like a horror film' Prisoners tried to behead corpse of man they'd murdered in Milton Keynes jail

WARNING: This story contains graphic detail which some readers may find distressing

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 2:13 pm

Three prisoners tried to behead the corpse of an inmate they had murdered in the exercise yard at Woodhill Prison, an inquest has heard.

Ukrainian-born Taras Nykolyn, was attacked with knives made from razor blades and a ligature fashioned from a sheet.

Prison staff had to wait for personal protective gear before they entered the yard, and they described the attack and attempted decapitation as resembling something you would see in a horror film.

Brabbs, Raheem and Boorman have all been convicted of murdering Taras Nykolyn. Photo: SBNA

Forty-nine-year-old Nykolyn, himself a convicted killer, had suffered 52 separate injuries in a 25-minute attack, an inquest jury was told.

At the start of the two-week hearing Tom Osborne, senior coroner for Milton Keynes, said Mr Nykolyn died on 5 June 2018. He said there was a need for a proper inquiry into his death under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, the right to life, because he had died while being detained by the state.

The coroner said: “Taras Nykolyn was murdered by three other prisoners in the exercise yard at HMP Woodhill. Those three prisoners have subsequently been convicted of his murder.

“All four (including the victim) were in the Managing Challenging behaviour unit, which houses some of the most dangerous prisoners in the country.

Woodhill prison

“He (Mr Nykolyn) was serving a prison sentence for attacking a commuter on Wimbledon Common and, while on remand, killing a cellmate with a television. He had been sentenced for manslaughter.”

The jury was given details of the three men who killed him. James Brabbs, 35, was serving life with a minimum term of 29 and a half years for stabbing a delivery driver in the throat.

Stephen Boorman, 36, was serving 15 years for stabbing a friend in an argument, while Jibreel Raheem, 29, was in prison for attempted murder.

The coroner said that at about 3pm all four men were taken from their cells, searched and taken to the exercise yard where the trio launched “a most vicious attack.”

The brutal attack happened in the prison's exercise yard

He added: “They used handmade knives fashioned out of razor blades. Staff could not enter until they had sufficient staff in personal protection gear.

“They were stabbing him, his throat was cut and a ligature, like a rope, was made out of a sheet to attempt to decapitate him. They repeatedly returned to his body and kicked him and jumped on his head. He was confirmed dead at the scene.”

Prison officer Wayne Bird described watching the mutilation of Taras Nykolyn’s body as like something from a horror film.

In a statement read to the jury Mr Bird, who was the manager of the Managing Challenging Behaviour Unit at Woodhill Prison, said he was called to the exercise yard when the alarm was raised.

He said two officers were shouting: “Stop it. Move away from him". There was a lot of noise coming from the prisoners and a woman officer said: “I think they have killed him.”

He said: “I saw a prisoner face down, with no top on, covered in blood and completely still.”

Stephen Boorman was pacing up and down with his arms out in front of him saying: “You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”

He went on: “I saw Boorman stood on the bare back of the prisoner with a length of fabric which he tied around his neck. He was heaving on it, raising the neck across the floor. It was an horrendous sight - an act of mutilation of an already dead person. Something you would see in a horror movie.”

He said Brabbs was “smiling, bouncing and hyped up” while Raheem appeared “cold.”

The weapons were put inside a jumper and pushed under the gate.

He said he was at the gate when he saw Boorman pick up Nykolyn and throw him with such force that he could hear a dull thud as his head hit the exercise floor. “It was sickening to watch,” he said.

A Response Team arrived, handcuffed the prisoners and took them to a segregation unit, allowing paramedics to enter the yard.

In his 17 years in the prison service, Prison Officer Bird said he had never seen anything “so barbaric.”

He said there had been no sign of any issue between the prisoners before the attack.

The coroner said: “Were the searches of the prisoners adequate? Should the prison authorities have know there was a real risk of Mr Nykolyn being attacked?”

A post mortem examination by Dr Alexander Kolar found the medical cause of death was head and facial injuries.

He said there were a huge number of injuries, 52, in a 25 minute assault, that involved kicking, stabbing and an attempt to behead.

The inquest is proceeding and is due to last until October 4.